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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
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The Chagos Islanders and International Law

ISBN13: 9781849462655
Published: October 2014
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £50.00
Paperback edition not yet published, ISBN13 9781509912988

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In 1965, the UK excised the Chagos Islands from the colony of Mauritius to create the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in connection with the founding of a US military facility on the island of Diego Garcia. Consequently, the inhabitants of the Chagos Islands were secretly exiled to Mauritius, where they became chronically impoverished.

This book considers the resonance of international law for the Chagos Islanders. It advances the argument that BIOT constitutes a 'Non-Self-Governing Territory' pursuant to the provisions of Chapter XI of the UN Charter and for the wider purposes of international law. In addition, the book explores the extent to which the right of self-determination, indigenous land rights and a range of obligations contained in applicable human rights treaties could support the Chagossian right to return to BIOT. However, the rights of the Chagos Islanders are premised on the assumption that the UK possesses a valid sovereignty claim over BIOT. The evidence suggests that this claim is questionable and it is disputed by Mauritius. Consequently, the Mauritian claim threatens to compromise the entitlements of the Chagos Islanders in respect of BIOT as a matter of international law.

This book illustrates the ongoing problems arising from international law's endorsement of the territorial integrity of colonial units for the purpose of decolonisation at the expense of the countervailing claims of colonial self-determination by non-European peoples that inhabited the same colonial unit. The book uses the competing claims to the Chagos Islands to demonstrate the need for a more nuanced approach to the resolution of sovereignty disputes resulting from the legacy of European colonialism.

Public International Law
1. The Chagossian Litigation in the English Courts
2. The Chagos Islanders and the European Convention on Human Rights: Extra-territoriality and the Concept of State Jurisdiction
3. Detaching the Chagos Islands from Mauritius: The 1965 Mauritian Constitutional Conference and the Making of the Lancaster House
4. The 1965 Lancaster House Agreement and International Law
5. Detaching the Chagos Islands from Mauritius: The Status of
Colonial Self-determination in International Law during the mid-1960s6. Mauritian Claims of Sovereignty over the Chagos Islands:
Mauritian Self-determination
7. The Chagos Islanders and International Law